Israel frees Palestinian prisoner ahead of video swap

Israel has released ahead of schedule one of the 20 women prisoners due to be freed in return for a video of an Israeli soldier held in Gaza, officials said on Thursday.

Bara Malki (15) was released late on Wednesday after a judge ordered her freed, a spokesperson for the Israeli Prison Authority told Agence France-Presse.

”A regular parole board hearing shortened her sentence … and the judge ordered her released,” the spokesperson said.

Speaking from her home in the Jalazun refugee camp outside the West Bank town of Ramallah, Malki told Agence France-Presse: ”My name was on the list [to be freed] … I’m happy that I’ve been released but the court released me because of my age.”

Malki was serving 11 months for attempted murder and an attack on a police officer, prison officials said.

On Friday, Israel is due to free 19 other women prisoners in return for a videotape of Gilad Shalit, a soldier seized by Gaza militants in June 2006.

The exchange, announced on Wednesday, marked a major breakthrough in nearly three years of on-again, off-again Egyptian-brokered negotiations between Israel and Hamas for an exchange. German mediators joined the talks in July. — AFP



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